Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks head down to Nashville for latest test of the season

By Jimmy Lynch
Ian Mitchell #51, Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Ian Mitchell #51, Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks have played many games against each other in the past, and this season will be no different for the rivals. Throughout the history of the Predators and Blackhawks rivalry, one team would dominate the play during each season. With recent success on Nashville’s side, how will this season go for the ‘Hawks?

The Blackhawks are entering their next series against the Predators, having just won two games in a row vs. the Red Wings at home. After struggling in the first four games, getting two statement wins against any team was necessary for the ‘Hawks. Seeing as the last two games came against Detroit, lingering thoughts of doubt might still be on some fans’ minds.

While Detroit is not as bad as they were last season, they are still among the worst teams in the new-look central division. Nashville is deeper than the Wings and has something to play for after two bad losses to the Stars.

The Predators are led by Filip Forsberg, who has four goals, and Viktor Arvidsson has a goal and four assists thus far this season. The Predators’ power play and penalty kill have left room for improvement at 2 for 20 on the man advantage and giving up 9 goals on the PK after only being shorthanded 20 times.

The Chicago Blackhawks need to capitalize on any mistake the Predators make.

Even though the Predators have struggled since starting their season, the Blackhawks are still underdogs, in my opinion. Last season the Predators won the season series against Chicago, winning four of six games.

Chicago needs to capitalize on any mistake the Predators make. If a miss pass by the Preds ends up going the other way and doesn’t end up in the back of the net, Nashville could turn around and make the Blackhawks pay for it. Chicago does not have the talent to score goals at will, except for when they are on the power play, so being ready to pounce on loose pucks in the neutral zone or keep the pressure on in the offensive zone could help determine the winner on Tuesday and Wednesday.

(If you would like to read up on the Nashville Predators, check out our friends over at Pred Lines.)

The goalie matchup will be interesting as well. Juuse Saros and Pekka Rinne make up a better goalie tandem than what Chicago has seen thus far. So seeing if Kevin Lankinen can keep up with Saros will be interesting. Plus, with this being a back to back we very well could see the return of Malcolm Subban or Collin Delia on Wednesday night.

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The odds of Chicago going to Lankinen on a back to back this early in the season is low, so another goalie should get an opportunity to right the wrongs of their first few matchups in the net. Hopefully, the last two games’ success will not go away when the Blackhawks and Predators face off tomorrow night!

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